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PhD student (m/f/d) in Marine Organic Geochemistry
AWI | Bremerhaven, Germany | Deadline: 30 Apr 2019

The Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) is a member of the Helmholtz Association (HGF) and funded by federal and state government. AWI focuses on polar and marine research in a variety of disciplines such as biology, oceanography, geology, geochemistry and geophysics thus allowing multidisciplinary approaches to scientific goals.


The department Geosciences, section Marine Geochemistry, invites application for a PhD student (m/f/d) for the project "Composition and age of dissolved organic matter in sea-water". The project is carried out jointly with the Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment (ICBM) at the University of Oldenburg and in the framework of the Cluster of Excellence "The Ocean Floor - Earth's uncharted Interface" at University of Bremen.

Dissolved organic matter (DOM) is one of the largest carbon pools on Earth cycling within short to intermediate time scales (days to millennia). Its radiocarbon age at depth of up to several thousand years indicates that at least part of DOM is refractory. At the same time, little is known about the molecular composition and reactivity of individual subfractions of DOM. The goal of the project is to investigate how DOM composition determines its age and which processes are responsible for DOM ageing.


  • You will systematically investigate different DOM extraction methods for radiocarbon analyses, including the determination of associated blanks.
  • You will participate in the set-up of an UV-oxidation apparatus for DOM extraction.
  • In addition to radiocarbon dating of DOM fractions, you will also molecularly characterize these fractions mainly with ultrahigh-resolution mass spectrometry (15 Tesla FT-ICR-MS).
  • Another goal of the project is relating molecular composition and age of DOM in water column profiles of high-latitude ocean regions.


  • A degree (Master, Diploma) in analytical chemistry, geochemistry or a related field
  • Excellent English language skills, both written and spoken
  • Readiness to participate in marine expeditions

Desirable skills and knowledge

  • Knowledge in organic geochemical laboratory methods
  • Practical knowledge in chemical analytics and analytical instrumentation
  • Experience with the radiocarbon method is a benefit

Further Information

For further information please contact Prof. Dr. Gesine Mollenhauer (; +49(471)4831-2456)

The position is limited to 3 years. The salary will be paid in accordance with the German Tarifvertrag des öffentlichen Dienstes (TVöD Bund), up to salary level 13 (66%).

The place of employment will be Bremerhaven.

This characterizes us

  • our scientific success - excellent research.
  • collaboration and cooperation - intra-institute, national and international, interdisciplinary.
  • opportunities to develop - on the job, aiming at other positions and beyond AWI.
  • a culture of reconciling work and family - audited, and even more than that.
  • our outstanding research infrastructure - ships, stations, aircraft, laboratories and more.
  • an international environment - everyday contacts with people from all over the world.
  • having an influence - fundamental research with social and political relevance
  • flat hierarchies - freedom and responsibility.
  • exciting topics - also in technology, administration and infrastructure.

Equal opportunities for women and men are an integral part of our personnel policy. Therefore, we encourage women to apply.

As Ph.D. student at AWI you will be member of the Helmholtz Graduate School for Polar and Marine Research 'POLMAR' ( or another graduate school.

Disabled applicants will be given preference when equal qualifications are present. The AWI fosters the compatibility of work and family through various means. Because of our engagement in the area of work-life compatibility we have been awarded the certificate "Career and Family".

We look forward to your application!

Please forward your application by April 30th 2019 exclusively online.

Reference number: 29/D/Geo-b